Dynamic Geometry in Classrooms – An NSF Funded Research Project
Dr. Zhonghong Jiang and his colleagues in the Mathematics Department have received a grant of $2,090,450 from the National Science Foundation.
This grant will fund a four-year research project that is conducting repeated randomized control trials of an approach to high school geometry that utilizes Dynamic Geometry
(DG) software and supporting instructional materials to supplement ordinary instructional practices. It compares effects of that intervention with standard instruction that does not make use of computer drawing tools. The basic hypothesis of the study is that use of DG software to engage students in constructing mathematical ideas through experimentation, observation, data recording, conjecturing, conjecture testing, and proof results in better geometry learning for most students. The study tests that hypothesis by assessing student learning in 76 classrooms randomly assigned to treatment and control groups. Student learning is assessed by a geometry standardized test, a conjecturing-proving test, and a measure of student beliefs about the nature of geometry and mathematics in general. Teachers in both treatment and control groups receive relevant professional development, and they are provided with supplementary resource materials for teaching geometry. Fidelity of implementation for the experimental treatment is monitored carefully. Data for answering the several research questions of the study are analyzed by appropriate HLM methods. Results will provide strong evidence about the effectiveness of DG approach in high school teaching, evidence that can inform school decisions about innovation in that core high school mathematics course.